Former Sentry Insurance CEO John Joanis was the visionary behind the SentryWorld golf course when it was developed in the early 1980s, calling in Robert Trent Jones Jr. to design the 18-hole layout. Thirty years later, new CEO Pete McPartland brought the same architect back to update and improve the original design.
In actual fact, RTJ2’s associate Bruce Charlton and Jay Blasi – who had worked with the company until leaving in 2012 to launch his own design firm – were the men who collaborated on what turned out to be a major renovation project which took the best part of two years to complete, between 2013 and 2015.
Drainage, irrigation and cart paths were renewed, hundreds of trees were removed to create extra fairway width, green complexes were softened and all the bunkers were refurbished during an extensive makeover that also some new holes introduced, though much of the original routing was left in place, including the much-photographed “Flower Hole” at the par three 16th.
The club hosted the 10th edition of the US Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship back in 1986, not long after the course first opened for play. Following its extensive new millennium makeover, the course was the venue for another USGA event involving female golfers – this time the US Girls’ Junior Championship – in 2019.
Much improved layout with course conditions being more consistent and landing areas expanded made this return visit a pleasure.
Largish greens provide multiple pin positions that will change the strategy for best approach angle that was not always present before. Opportunities for making an approach shot immensely increased with the removal of a number of trees that could block out a good drive or cause you to run through the fairway.
New changes make this a keeper.